Man freed after murder conviction who was kicked out of series podcast

A US judge has ordered the release of a man convicted in a 2000 murder case chronicled on hit podcast Serial.

At the behest of prosecutors in Baltimore, Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn ordered that Adnan Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee be vacated and she authorized the release of the 41-year-old, who has spent more than two decades behind bars .

Judge Phinn ruled that the state had breached its legal obligation to share exculpatory evidence with Mr Syed’s defense.

She ordered that he be released from custody and placed under house arrest with an electronic tag. She also asked the state to decide within 30 days whether to request a new hearing or dismiss the case.

“All right, Mr. Syed, you are free to join your family,” Judge Phinn said at the end of the hearing.

Mr. Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, received widespread attention in 2014 when the first season of Serial focused on the murder of Ms. Lee and cast doubt on some of the evidence used by prosecutors, sparking countless debates about Mr. Syed’s innocence or guilt .

I understand how difficult this is, but we need to make sure we’re holding the right person accountableBecky Feldman

Last week, prosecutors filed a motion saying a lengthy investigation conducted with the defense uncovered new evidence undermining the 2000 conviction of Mr Syed, Ms Lee’s ex-boyfriend could.

“I understand how difficult this is, but we have to make sure we’re holding the right person accountable,” assistant prosecutor Becky Feldman told the judge as she described details from the case that undermine the decades-old conviction, including flawed cellphone data , unreliable witness statements and a potentially biased detective.

He was serving a life sentence after being convicted of strangling the 18-year-old whose body was found buried in a Baltimore park.

The investigation “revealed undisclosed and newly developed information about two alternative suspects, as well as unreliable cell tower data,” prosecutor Marilyn Mosby’s office said in a news release last week.

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The suspects were known people at the time of the original investigation but were not properly excluded or disclosed to the defense, said prosecutors, who declined to release information about the suspects amid the ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors said they did not allege that Mr Syed was innocent but lacked confidence “in the integrity of the conviction” and recommended he be released on his own or on bail.

Prosecutors had said if the motion were granted it would effectively place Mr Syed in a new trial status and have his convictions overturned while the case remains active.

He was led into a crowded courtroom in handcuffs and wearing a white shirt and tie on Monday. He was seated next to his lawyer, and his mother and other family representatives were in the room, as was Ms. Mosby.

In 2016, a lower court ordered a retrial for Mr Syed on the grounds that his attorney Cristina Gutierrez, who died in 2004, had not contacted an alibi witness and had failed to provide effective counsel.

After a series of appeals, the Maryland Supreme Court in 2019 rejected a new trial by 4-3 opinions. The Court of Appeal agreed with a lower court that Mr Syed’s counsel had failed in not examining an alibi witness, but disagreed that the failure prejudiced the case. The court said Mr Syed waived his voidable counsel claim.

The US Supreme Court declined to review the case in 2019.

The true crime podcast was the brainchild of longtime radio producer and former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig, who spent more than a year delving into Mr Syed’s case and reporting her findings in near real-time in hour-long chunks.

The 12-episode podcast won a Peabody Award and was transformative in popularizing podcasts to a wide audience. Man freed after murder conviction who was kicked out of series podcast

Fry Electronics Team

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